Back in November 2017, I wrote a lengthy post titled, “A good start to the day?” It was, of course, an article about breakfast, and chronicled some of the best early morning repasts I have enjoyed over recent years, alongside a few of the places where I polished off these culinary delights.
Now I won’t repeat what I wrote almost 18 months ago, but I want to expand a little on the subject of the first meal of the day. First a bit of background information. I am quite frugal during the working week, where time pressures mean there is little time for anything other than hurriedly grabbing a quick bite to eat. Normally this is either a couple of slices of toast (topped with jam, marmalade or Marmite), or a bowl of cereal – porridge during the winter, and something a little lighter during the warmer months.
I don’t normally indulge myself too much in the mornings, at weekends either; although sometimes Mrs PBT’s will rustle up some French toast, or a couple of bacon sarnies. However, if son Matthew isn’t working, and is up in time, then him and I will normally go out and grab ourselves a breakfast. Being employed in retail means he is often rostered to work at weekends, so these breakfast forays certainly don’t happen every week, but when they do it is well worth making the effort to find somewhere decent.
I’ll be covering this area in a little more detail shortly, but before doing so it’s worth mentioning that Mrs PBT’s likes to treat the Sabbath as an excuse to catch up on “refurbishing” herself, and not have to get “made up”; something her feminine pride normally insists on before venturing outdoors.
She also claims she can get a lot more done when husband and son are away, stuffing their faces with all sorts of greasy and unhealthy food, although personally I think it’s just an excuse to put her feet up and slob out in front of the TV, watching "Escape to the Country" or “Homes under the Hammer”!
This slow, taking ones time in the morning does tend to mean missing out on breakfast, although even before last year’s episode I often tended to go down to breakfast on my own, smuggling her back the odd croissant or two to eat in the room.
Now my good lady wife likes a Premier Inn, and I must admit that whilst they might be a little pricier than I would pay if I was travelling on my own, they offer a good standard of comfort, and you know what you are getting. Lenny Henry has even tested the beds for you!
Most Premier Inns have some sort of chain restaurant, either attached, or adjacent where, should you desire, you can tuck in to a decent breakfast. For cost-conscious individual like me, £10 is somewhat on the dear side, so on that recent Norfolk trip, I decided to go elsewhere, and ended up enjoying what was one of the best supermarket breakfasts around.
So leaving Mrs PBT’s at the hotel to a more leisurely start to the day, I nipped across the road and treated myself to a fine full English, courtesy of Mr Sainsbury. I did however, remember to bring my wife back a subway roll and some nibbles. On the drive back to Kent the following morning, we called in at an similar-sized Sainsbury’s Superstore, just off the A11, outside Thetford, but unfortunately we missed breakfast by about 15 minutes.
Closer to home, the lad and I have recently tried the Gatehouse in Tonbridge; owned by the Stonegate Pub Company, and the Hilden Manor, which is part of the Beefeater chain.
Decent breakfasts aren’t really about dining at large chains though, and I include Wetherspoon’s in this description. Even before my boycott of arch-Brexiteer Tim Martin’s establishments, I felt the breakfast offering had started to go downhill, so it’s not as if I’m missing anything. So now, supermarkets aside, the search has been on locally for a place where my son and I can enjoy a good breakfast, at a reasonable price.
It was buzzing when we arrived, rather later than I would have liked, but blame the lad for over-sleeping. Despite this obvious popularity, the friendly and attentive staff still managed to find us a table for two. Matt went all out with two of everything, whilst I was rather more restrained. The breakfast was freshly cooked to order, and came with a welcoming pot of tea each.
Mrs PBT’s has never been keen on serving up them up at home; ostensibly because of their lingering smell, but on the basis that every cloud has a silver lining, whilst she was recuperating in hospital, at the beginning of last year, I enjoyed freshly cooked kippers for three weekends on the trot.
First bring a pan of water to the boil, turn off the heat, fully immerse the kippers in water, cover and leave for around 7 minutes. The result, perfectly poached kippers, juicy, succulent and with the minimum amount of lingering smell. Pure heaven on a plate.!